By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- On Thursday, the updated and highly controversial state-funded Women's Health Program was supposed to be up and running. However, that's not happening. At least, not yet.
The new program would ban any state dollars from going towards healthcare providers who perform abortions, or their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood. Around 4,000 women in the Basin visit Planned Parenthood of West Texas, located in Midland. The facility and other Planned Parenthoods around the state, have been caught in the middle of bitter battle over how Texas is going to give women the medical attention they want.
"Planned Parenthood of West Texas doesn't provide abortions, but we do support a woman's right to choose, which would knock us out of the [state] program," Carla Holeva with the Planned Parenthood of West Texas office in Midland, said.
For months, President Obama's administration has retaliated against Texas' desired new program that excludes healthcare providers that perform abortions or their affiliates. The President is threatening to pull all federal funding from the state for the program.
Governor Rick Perry is lashing back. Catherine Frazier with Governor Perry's press office tells NewsWest 9, "There is no reason that the Obama administration had to come in and pull the rug out from under Texas women just to prop up its pro-abortion agenda."
Now, the state is claiming it can provide for the program all on its own, without federal dollars. How? That's still not set in stone.
The issue has been tossed back and forth in the courtroom for months. Each moment that goes by in this struggle, says Planned Parenthood, is critical time wasted.
"As confusing as it is to all of us, even in the middle of it with going back and forth, imagine being a woman in our area here in Midland and Odessa and around the Permian Basin and trying to make sure you have access to healthcare," Holeva said.
On Wednesday, the state made a major announcement that on November 1st, it will be ready to start its own non-federally funded pro-life sentiment program for women. But, it won't actually begin until the judicial drama is over.
Until then, federal dollars will still go to program providers in Texas who provide abortions or their affiliates.
The state now expects the new program to be implemented sometime in December. Planned Parenthood of West Texas in Midland says that once that happens, they're going to move forward as if nothing has happened. They said they'll find the money they need on their own without help from Governor Perry.